Compass Box “No Name” was released in October 2017. According to the company, the whisky was given “no name” to let it speak for itself. It is a blend composed of 75.5% Ardbeg (matured in re-charred American standard barrels), 13.4% Clynelish (matured in re-charred hogsheads), 10.6% Caol Ila (matured in refill American standard barrels) and 0.5% of the “Highland Malt Blend”, a vatting of Clynelish, Dailuaine, and Teaninich that is recasked and matured for four and a half years in what Compass Box call their “highly active heavy toast French oak hybrid casks”. Very intriguing. For more details I recommend the fact sheet on Compass Box’s website.
This is a smoky nose, for sure. It begins with a load of brine and the kind of damp smoke that you are left with after rain has extinguished your camp fire. Unusual but interesting. Then notes of lemons and green apples come to the fore, typical flavours that can be found in younger Ardbeg expressions, if I may say. After that the dampness fades and the smoke gets dry and peaty.
The palate is medium-bodied and oily. The smoke flavours are now quite tarry and are accompanied by notes of lemons, green apples, grapefruits, and a hint of liquorice. A bit sour but also salty at the same time. The brine is still there, too, but it is the tarry smoke that keeps the flavours together.
The finish is long and warming. There now is a mixture of flavours of brine, lemons, liquorice, and a touch of leather – a nice combination of salt and sweetness.
I am very much taken with this Compass Box expression. It is both complex and at the same time very, very drinkable. In fact, I bought my bottle two months ago and there is about one fifth left. This is just too good not to be enjoyed on a regular basis. I love the different kinds of smoke that you encounter when tasting this, as well as the interplay between salty, sour and sweet flavours. In my view, this is blending work at its very, very best.